2015 Ross Gutmeier "Santos" SP/CSAR
|Back & Sides:
Based out of Baltimore, American luthier Ross Gutmeier has been building a wide range of styles over the past years and has become established as a top maker of sandwich-top instruments. Since 2007, he has been especially enamored with the instruments of Santos Hernandez, after seeing and studying several original instruments, and he began experimenting with various ways of integrating the charming and alluring elements of the Santos style into his own work. Just last year, he finally reached a point where he was won over and absolutely convinced of the superiority of the traditional approach and has decided to move away the sandwich-top design. You can read Ross' powerful testimony of his journey here
This particular guitar is extremely lightweight and efficiently built using the traditional building concepts learned primarily from the Santos models. To be more precise, Ross is using particular curvatures of the sides, top and back to provide additional strength, thus accommodating a reduction in thickness of materials which Ross calls "free stiffness". The intended result of course is to create as vibrant and responsive an instrument as possible while remaining structurally sound. Due to the very light build, it's extremely lively in the hands with an immediate attack and surprisingly big, powerful sound. The tonal quality itself is lyrical, singing and loose without being muddy or boomy in any register. Aesthetically Ross remained true to the inspiration behind this model and has done a rosette and head design in the style of Santos, which has a timeless elegance and charm. For materials, Ross sourced the spruce from a tree that died in 1948 and was harvested in 2006, so it's well aged and has precisely the stiffness that he likes to achieve his "light and strong" quality in his build. Back and sides are high-grade CSA rosewood with beautiful figuring. Overall, the guitar is beautifully built, fun to play and satisfying to the ear. It also has an extremely compelling backstory in and of itself, as well as of the journey of its maker.